From Waste to Worth: Embracing Lean Manufacturing to Maximise Efficiency and Profits

Have you ever had the nagging feeling that your manufacturing business could be doing better? That despite your best efforts, you seem to be stuck in a rut, spinning your wheels without making significant progress, and watching as precious resources are squandered? You’re certainly not alone in this struggle. Across the UK, numerous small manufacturers grapple with the challenge of maximising efficiency and eliminating unnecessary costs that eat into their hard-earned profits. But there’s no need to despair because there is a powerful solution within reach that can totally transform your operations: the lean manufacturing approach.

Lean manufacturing isn’t just a set of tools or a temporary fix; it’s a comprehensive philosophy that, when embraced, can unlock the hidden potential in your business and turn what was once considered “waste” into pure gold. Allow me to guide you through this transformative philosophy and show you how to unleash a leaner, meaner, and more profitable manufacturing machine.

The Lean Mindset: Identifying and Eliminating Waste

At the very heart of lean manufacturing lies the relentless pursuit of waste elimination. But to tackle waste, we must first understand what it is. Waste in the manufacturing context can take many forms, such as overproduction, excess inventory, inefficient processes, unnecessary movements, waiting times, and defective products. Essentially, waste is anything that does not add value to your final product or service.

Developing a keen eye for waste is akin to developing a new sense of perception. It’s like decluttering your home – once you start identifying the unnecessary clutter, you begin to see it everywhere. And just like decluttering, eliminating waste in your manufacturing process can be incredibly liberating and empowering. It frees up space, resources, and energy, allowing you to focus on what truly matters: delivering value to your customers.

The Lean Toolbox: Unleashing Efficiency

With a clear understanding of what constitutes waste, the next step is to apply the power of lean manufacturing techniques. These tried-and-true tools are designed to streamline your operations and maximise efficiency. Let’s delve into a few of the game-changers that can revolutionise the way you work:

  1. Value Stream Mapping: This powerful technique allows you to visualise the entire flow of your manufacturing process, from raw materials to the finished product. By mapping out the value stream, you can identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas ripe for improvement. It’s a tool that provides a bird’s-eye view of your operations, highlighting where time and resources are being wasted and where the flow of production can be smoothed out.
  2. 5S: This lean principle (Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardise, Sustain) is all about creating a clean, organised, and efficient workspace. By implementing 5S, you’ll not only improve safety and productivity but also instil a sense of pride and ownership in your team. Each ‘S’ plays a crucial role: Sorting ensures that only necessary items are kept, Setting in Order arranges tools and materials for optimal workflow, Shining keeps the workspace clean, Standardising creates consistent methods and practices, and Sustaining ensures that these new standards are maintained over time.
  3. Just-in-Time Production: Say goodbye to excessive inventory and hello to a leaner, more agile manufacturing process. Just-in-Time (JIT) production ensures that you produce only what’s needed, when it’s needed, minimising waste and freeing up valuable resources. This approach requires precise planning and communication but, when executed correctly, can significantly reduce costs associated with storage and spoilage while ensuring that your products are always fresh and in line with current market demands.

Engaging Your Team: The Secret Sauce

The implementation of lean manufacturing techniques is just the beginning. To truly unlock the full potential of lean, you need to engage and empower your team. After all, your employees are the ones on the front lines, witnessing inefficiencies and waste firsthand.

Encourage your team to identify areas for improvement and share their ideas openly. Foster an environment where everyone feels valued and heard. When your employees feel invested in the lean process, they’ll become your biggest advocates and drivers of continuous improvement. This engagement leads to a more motivated workforce, one that takes initiative and pride in their work.

The Continuous Improvement Mindset: Lean is a Journey, Not a Destination

Lean manufacturing is an ongoing process, not just a single initiative. It requires a steadfast commitment to continuously identifying and eliminating inefficiencies and waste. To thrive, foster a culture of perpetual improvement where all team members proactively seek ways to refine processes and reduce waste.

Consider this as a constant cycle of enhancements, with each phase moving you towards a more streamlined, efficient, and profitable production process. This approach is essential as it keeps pace with ever-changing market conditions and technological advancements. By nurturing this dynamic culture, your business remains flexible, competitive, and at the forefront of industry developments.

The Benefits: Turning Waste into Worth

By embracing the lean manufacturing approach, you’ll unlock a host of benefits that can transform your small manufacturing business:

  1. Cost Reduction: By cutting out waste and enhancing efficiency, we directly lower our operational expenses, boosting our profit margins. Who isn’t pleased with more savings? These funds can be funnelled back into the company, propelling growth, spurring innovation, and enabling continuous enhancements.
  2. Quality Enhancement: Applying lean methodologies to pinpoint and rectify flaws boosts the quality of products, much to the delight of customers, thus delivering a dual benefit. This consistency in quality cultivates trust and loyalty, both of which are essential in the competitive landscape of today.
  3. Boost in Competitiveness: Speed and adaptability are crucial in the modern market, and lean manufacturing positions you to keep pace with market trends and supply products with more efficiency, giving your business a vital advantage over competitors. This nimbleness also makes adapting to shifts in customer tastes and market dynamics smoother.
  4. Employee Morale and Retention: Incorporating your team in the lean journey and valuing their input instils a sense of ownership and pride in their work. The outcome? Elevated job satisfaction and diminished staff turnover, particularly vital for smaller businesses. When employees feel engaged, they’re likelier to commit long-term to your company, cutting down the cost and interruption high turnover can create.

Embrace the Lean Mindset: Your Call to Action

Small manufacturers in the UK, the time has come to embrace the lean manufacturing approach and unlock the hidden potential within your operations. It may require an initial investment of time and resources, but the potential rewards are too significant to ignore.

Take the first step today by identifying areas of waste and inefficiency within your manufacturing process. Engage your team, implement lean techniques, and cultivate a culture of continuous improvement. Before you know it, you’ll be turning what was once considered “waste” into pure worth, propelling your small manufacturing business towards a leaner, more efficient, and more profitable future.

Embrace the lean mindset, and watch as your manufacturing operation transforms into a well-oiled, value-maximising machine. The time to unlock your hidden potential is now.

The Lean Transformation: A Detailed Roadmap

To embark on this lean journey, it’s essential to have a clear roadmap. This roadmap will guide you through the various stages of lean implementation, ensuring that you don’t miss any critical steps and that you can measure your progress along the way.

Stage 1: Assessment and Planning

The first stage involves a thorough assessment of your current operations. You need to understand where you are before you can chart a course to where you want to be. This assessment should be as comprehensive as possible, covering all aspects of your manufacturing process, including supply chain management, production, quality control, and delivery.

Once you’ve identified the areas that need improvement, it’s time to plan. Set clear, achievable goals for your lean transformation. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). With these goals in place, you can develop a step-by-step plan to achieve them, assigning responsibilities and deadlines to ensure accountability.

Stage 2: Training and Empowerment

Lean manufacturing is as much about people as it is about processes. For your lean transformation to be successful, your team must be fully trained in lean principles and techniques. Invest in comprehensive training programs that not only teach the tools of lean but also instill the philosophy behind it.

Empowerment is equally important. Your employees should feel confident in suggesting improvements and taking the initiative to solve problems. This empowerment can be fostered through regular team meetings, suggestion schemes, and recognition programs that celebrate the contributions of your staff.

Stage 3: Implementation and Monitoring

With your team trained and empowered, you can begin implementing the lean techniques you’ve chosen. Start with pilot projects or specific areas of your operations to test the effectiveness of the changes and to build momentum for a wider rollout.

Monitoring is critical during this stage. You need to track the impact of your lean initiatives to ensure they are delivering the desired results. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress against your goals. These KPIs might include metrics such as production cycle times, defect rates, inventory levels, and employee engagement scores.

Stage 4: Review and Adjust

Lean is an iterative process. After implementing changes, take the time to review the outcomes. What worked well? What didn’t? What unexpected challenges arose? Use this information to adjust your approach and refine your processes.

This stage is also an opportunity to celebrate successes and to learn from failures. Both are invaluable in building a resilient and adaptable organisation.

Stage 5: Standardisation and Replication

Once you’ve found what works, standardise those processes so that they become the new norm. Document best practices and ensure that they are followed across your entire operation.

After standardising successful practices, replicate them in other areas of your business. This replication can lead to significant improvements across your organisation, multiplying the benefits of your lean transformation.

Stage 6: Sustaining the Gains

The final stage is about sustaining the gains you’ve made. Lean is not a set-it-and-forget-it approach; it requires ongoing attention and effort. Continue to monitor your KPIs, engage with your team, and look for new ways to improve.

Remember, the landscape of manufacturing is always changing. New technologies, materials, and market demands will present new challenges and opportunities. By maintaining a lean mindset, you can ensure that your business remains flexible, efficient, and competitive for years to come.

Key Takeaways

Transforming into a lean manufacturing enterprise comes with its hurdles. It demands dedication, strict adherence to principles, and openness to transformation. However, the benefits are undeniable: lower expenses, enhanced product quality, a boost in competitive edge, and a workforce that’s more involved and committed.

Being a UK-based producer, you stand at a pivotal moment to effect profound changes in both your enterprise and your sector. By adopting lean manufacturing practices, you can tap into the dormant capabilities of your processes, steering your company towards a future that’s streamlined, high-functioning, and financially rewarding.

The time to act is now. Embrace the lean mindset, engage your team, and start your journey towards excellence. Your business, your employees, and your customers will thank you for it. The transformation that awaits is not just about cutting costs or increasing efficiency; it’s about reimagining what your business can achieve. Lean is the key to unlocking a future where your manufacturing business doesn’t just survive but thrives.

Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for Manufacturing Performance Improvement

Artificial Intelligence (AI)—once a concept boxed within the realm of science fiction and futuristic fantasies—has become a reality that is continuously reshaping various industries. One such field feeling the significant impact is manufacturing. This blog explores how businesses can harness AI to improve manufacturing performance, from refining product quality to enhancing operational efficiency.

Understanding AI in Manufacturing

Artificial intelligence, in a nutshell, refers to computer systems designed to mimic human intelligence, including aspects like learning, reasoning, problem-solving, perception, and language. We are primarily focusing on its pivotal role in manufacturing—a sector where machinery and processes are fine-tuned to infer patterns and insights from manufacturing data.

Two crucial techniques form the bedrock of AI’s transformative effect—Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning. ML facilitates automatic progress in computer performance via exposure to data, while Deep Learning, a subset of ML, deploys neural networks to analyses multitude facets of a given scenario.

Applications of AI in Manufacturing

AI in manufacturing may feel intangible, but its applications are concrete, quantifiable, and coupled with direct strategic impact. Here are key areas where AI has a discernible influence:

Predictive Maintenance: AI provides the capacity to predict possible machinery malfunction by identifying patterns in data accumulated from the machines. By fixing issues before they halt operations, unplanned downtime is significantly reduced.

Quality Control: From inspecting minute product details to assessing whole batch quality, machine learning algorithms can pinpoint product defects. This early detection system prevents the manufacture of flawed products to save costs and protect brand reputation.

Demand Forecasting: Market trends prediction is an essential aspect of manufacturing, and AI can do it with remarkable accuracy. Advanced data analyses enable producers to realign their production strategies according to the forecasted demand.

Supply Chain Optimisation: AI conducts extensive analysis of multiple supply chain factors, offering manufacturers an intelligence-informed logistical strategy that improves inventory management and distribution patterns.

Automation of Processes: Complex tasks, previously requiring human intervention, can now be done independently, thanks to AI-driven automation tools. This evolution reduces common human errors and improves factory safety.

Benefits of AI in Manufacturing

Increased Efficiency: AI can significantly ramp up efficiency in manufacturing processes on multiple levels. For instance, intelligent machines can analyse historical and real-time data from the production line to identify bottlenecks and make real-time adjustments, leading to more streamlined operations. AI systems can improve the speed and accuracy of routine tasks by automating them. Machine learning algorithms can also optimise resource utilisation, reducing waste, and improving overall effectiveness. Given these enhancements, operations run smoother, faster, and with less waste, thereby dramatically improving efficiency.

Reduced Operational Costs: The use of AI has financially tangible benefits. With predictive maintenance capabilities, AI can analyse patterns in machine data to predict potential malfunctions before they cause expensive downtime. This ability to forecast and act upon potential problems in advance can significantly reduce costs associated with last-minute equipment repairs or replacements. AI can automate many processes, freeing the workforce from routine tasks and reducing labour costs. AI can also help cut the costs associated with overproduction and inventory wastage by providing accurate demand forecasts.

Improved Quality: AI can effectively learn from data to discern anomalies or variations in manufacturing processes that could result in defects. This instant identification allows for speedy correction, minimising the chance of producing defective components or products. Machine vision, powered by AI, can also be used for stringent and objective quality checks, reducing human error, and thus ensuring consistent output quality. The end result is improvements in the final product quality, enhanced customer satisfaction, and a stronger brand reputation in the market.

Enhanced Safety: In the manufacturing industry, employee safety is vital. With AI, potentially hazardous tasks can be automated. For instance, in a high-temperature environment or one that involves handling hazardous materials, robots equipped with AI can execute tasks without risking human safety. Moreover, AI can monitor facilities for safety compliance and detect any potential threats, triggering alarms for immediate action. By taking on jobs that would put humans at risk and by monitoring worksites in real-time for potential safety hazards, AI significantly enhances worker safety.

Challenges and Solutions

Data Privacy: With AI systems increasingly analysing vast amounts of data, privacy concerns are rising. Manufacturers collect operational data, customer data, and more, which if not secured properly, can easily be used maliciously, damaging both customers and businesses. However, AI itself provides a solution in terms of ‘Differential Privacy.’ This technology adds a degree of randomness to data, without affecting the broader analyses. This ensures that individual data entries cannot be reversed-engineered, protected from potential intrusion.

Cost of Implementation: Implementing AI in manufacturing is often seen as a financially intensive approach. It requires considerable upfront investment for acquiring necessary hardware, developing AI models, integrating with existing systems, and training staff. However, a long-view perspective suggests these costs are recoverable given the long-term benefits. Enhanced operational efficiency, improved product quality, reduced downtime, and minimised wastage result in substantial cost savings over time, serving as the return on investment.

Lack of Skills: AI requires a specific set of skills, which if not present in the current workforce can pose learning and implementation challenges. It is essential to impart comprehensive AI training to employees— to introduce AI concepts, demonstrate its application, and make them feel comfortable with AI tools. Additionally, aggressive hiring strategies focusing on attracting AI-skilled workforce can be incorporated. Partnerships with educational institutions for tailored programs or accelerators for AI startups could also be a pathway to gain access to skills and innovative solutions.

Key Takeaway[s]

Harnessing the power of AI promises a bright future for the manufacturing industry. The possibilities are endless, the improvements significant, and the breakthroughs rewarding. It is a realm of opportunities businesses must explore, offsetting challenges with innovative solutions while continuously devising ways to keep up with AI advancements. Whether it’s to respond to market volatility, improve product quality or enhance efficiency, the introduction of AI into manufacturing indeed signifies a significant leap forward.

Conquering Disruptions in Manufacturing: The Power of Supply Chain Resilience and Advanced Technology

With a global economic landscape that’s increasingly volatile, unpredictable, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA), modern businesses are continually challenged by unexpected disruptions. In the realm of manufacturing, such disturbances have enormous implications for supply chains, often leading to substantial business impact. Herein lies the importance of devising ‘Supply Chain Resilience’—a systemic capability focused on building an adaptable manufacturing network that can flex in response to disruptive events, and swiftly bounce-back to a steady operational state.

This article offers in-depth insights into the crucial strategies for crafting a resilient, flexible, and adaptive manufacturing network, with a particular emphasis on the role of technology such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in bolstering resilience.

Operational Silos: The First Barrier to Overcome

A resilient and agile manufacturing supply chain necessitates a holistic vantage point. This requires breaking down operational silos to enhance inter-function cooperation, promote information transparency, and facilitate seamless information exchange across the value chain. By integrating supply chain-related functions into strategic decision-making processes, businesses can achieve disparate yet synergistic responses during times of disruption, thereby reinforcing resilience.

Flexible and Responsive Strategies: The Backbone of Resilience

Resilience fundamentally revolves around the principles of flexibility and responsiveness. Sticking to traditional, static supply chain frameworks can leave businesses floundering in the face of uncertainty. Therefore, integrating flexibility and responsiveness into supply chain strategies can help alleviate potential disruptions and proactively manage risks.

These strategies allow manufacturing leaders and supply chain executives to not only react swiftly and effectively to changes but also anticipate disruptions and prepare their response well in advance. Adaptive supply chain networks can mitigate the effects of unexpected events, be it temporary interruptions like COVID-19 or more systemic shifts such as evolving consumer behaviours or regulatory changes.

Six Pillars of Supply Chain Resilience

To construct a resilient supply chain, businesses should consider the following six strategic pillars:

  1. Inventory and capacity buffers: This strategy involves having excess production facilities or inventory above the safety stock requirements. With these buffers in place, companies can better manage uncertainties and maintain supply chain continuity during disruptions.
  2. Diversified Manufacturing & Supply Chain Footprint: Through distributing sourcing and manufacturing facilities across different geographical areas, businesses can mitigate the impacts of local disruptions, enabling continuity despite regional crises.
  3. Product design strategy: By focusing on flexible and modular product designs, manufacturers can reduce supply chain complexity and better accommodate changes with minimal operational disruption.
  4. Visibility: This principle emphasises the necessity to monitor, track, and have a comprehensive understanding of the entirety of the supply chain. Real-time visibility enables proactive risk identification, better decision making, and rapid response to unexpected events.
  5. Collaboration: This involves fostering partnerships and collaboration among various stakeholders in the supply chain, from suppliers and manufacturers to distributors and customers. Enhanced collaboration can improve overall efficiency and responsiveness, making networks more resilient and adaptable.
  6. Supply Chain Risk Management: This approach deals with identifying, quantifying, and mitigating supply chain risks. A robust risk management framework can impede potential interruptions before they escalate, thereby ensuring business continuity.

The Role of Technology in Promoting Supply Chain Resilience

In the digital era, technology plays a pivotal role in fortifying supply chain resilience. Technological advancements like RFID, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain can offer transparency, agility, real-time tracking, and foresight into the supply chain operations.

For instance, during the early stages of the pandemic, Nike exemplified the power of technology as a resilience-booster by accelerating a program utilising RFID technology. This offered real-time tracking of products flowing through outsourced manufacturing operations, thereby improving visibility, and allowing swift responses to disruptions.

Key Takeaways

As complexity and uncertainty continue to dominate the global manufacturing landscape, the creation of a resilient supply chain is no longer a fancy buzzword—it’s a necessity for survival and growth. By adopting flexible strategies, fostering a collaborative ecosystem, integrating advanced technology, and zealously monitoring risks, businesses can build a truly robust and resilient supply chain.

Future supply chain resilience will undeniably hinge on continuous innovation, implementation of emerging technologies, and the leadership’s commitment to learning from disruptions rather than merely surviving them. In this era of VUCA, the mantra for all manufacturing companies should be—adapt, be resilient, or risk being left behind.

💡PS: If you’re a Manufacturer looking to Reduce Costs, Foster Innovation and Accelerate Growth please do get in touch with us to discuss more. – Give us a call or send a message here.

Driving Efficiency: The Role of Consistent Feedback in Manufacturing Process Improvement

Process improvement in manufacturing is all about identifying, analysing, and optimising existing business operations to meet new standards of efficiency and quality. A crucial component of this journey is the role of feedback – the consistent kind. When effectively harnessed, feedback offers significant opportunities to drive efficiency and improve performance across manufacturing processes.

The Concept of Feedback in Manufacturing

In the context of manufacturing, feedback represents a variety of inputs that provide insight into how operations are performing. These can come from varied sources, such as employees’ suggestions, customer feedback on product quality, or even technical data from machine sensors.

In an industry where precision and efficiency are paramount, each type of feedback can be invaluable. From pinning down inefficiencies in production lines to signalling the requirements for new capabilities, feedback provides the groundwork for beneficial changes.

Real-Time Feedback and Operational Efficiency

The potency of feedback is exponentially strengthened when it is received in real time. Real-time feedback eliminates lag time in data collection and analysis, enabling manufacturers to tackle inefficiencies head-on as they occur.

Consider the case of a major precision engineering manufacturer that utilised real-time machine data from FactoryIQ. Incorporating sensor technologies, they could instantly detect and address any deviations in machine performance. The result was significantly improved productivity, reduced waste, and heightened efficiency.

Feedback Loop: From Collection to Action

An efficient feedback loop encompasses timely collection, swift analysis, and effective implementation of insights derived from feedback. Feedback that is not acted upon (or not acted upon promptly) loses its impact.

Creating a feedback loop in manufacturing involves defining inputs, establishing collection channels, implementing analysis protocols, and setting up procedures for action based on these insights. It might seem complex, yet it’s a worthy investment that equips manufacturers with an ongoing resource for process improvement.

Continuous Feedback for Continuous Improvement

Manufacturing process improvement isn’t a one-off project; it’s an ongoing pursuit. This philosophy places continuous feedback at the core of sustained process improvement efforts.

Maintaining a consistent rhythm of feedback collection and analysis means you perpetually have your finger on the pulse of operational performance. With continuous feedback, manufacturers can identify patterns over time, predict potential challenges, and develop strategic actions to improve efficiency consistently.

Harnessing Technology to Facilitate Feedback

The feedback mechanism is greatly backed by technology. From data sensors on manufacturing equipment to software that automates customer feedback collection, various tools can facilitate feedback in manufacturing.

For instance FactoryIQ, our sister companies Manufacturing Execution Software (MES) can collect real-time data on machine performance, while FactoryIQ’s scheduling system can provide planning and customer feedback at various stages. Leveraging these technologies can lead to more consistent and accurate feedback, and by extension, more effective process improvements.

Additionally, FactoryIQ analytics tools (integrated into MES) can analyse feedback data to generate usable insights. These solutions utilise techniques including predictive analytics or machine learning, enabling manufacturers to extract meaningful conclusions from large volumes of feedback data.

Key Takeaways

Consistent feedback plays a pivotal role in enhancing manufacturing process efficiency. As a manufacturer, if you aren’t already placing feedback at the heart of your process improvement initiatives, it’s time you did.

The process might seem daunting, especially if you’ve traditionally relied on less feedback-oriented process improvement. But remember, like any new implementation, it takes time to set up and get used to. Once you overcome the initial hurdle, the benefits of consistent feedback can be substantial – marked improvements in efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, profitability.

Motivating your team to contribute, using technology to automate feedback collection and analysis, and creating an atmosphere where feedback is valued and acted upon, can go a long way in ingraining an Lean Thinking / Problem Solving culture that propels process improvement.

The manufacturing landscape is continually evolving and calls for continuous improvement. By tapping into the power of consistent feedback, you are arming your manufacturing operations with the capability to not just keep pace with this evolution but also to lead the charge.

The connection between consistent feedback and manufacturing process improvement is strong and direct. By acknowledging this and acting on it, you are solidifying the pathway towards greater efficiency and business success.

💡PS: If you’re a Manufacturer looking to Reduce Costs, Foster Innovation and Accelerate Growth please do get in touch here.

The Power of Lean: How Leadership Transformation Elevates Company Performance

By now, you’ve probably heard about Lean. It’s a powerful approach to management, which has its roots in manufacturing, but is used by many companies large and small to improve their processes and products.

As its name suggests, Lean is about eliminating waste — anything that doesn’t directly add value to the customer. This includes waste in time (waiting), materials (overproduction), money (overhead) and energy (people working on the wrong things).

Lean is a journey — not just a set of tools or tactics — and it takes time to become effective. But it can transform how you manage your people — giving you more time for important activities like coaching and developing your people so they can do their jobs better.

The Lean Leadership Journey

The journey to a Lean organisation is not an easy one. It requires a holistic approach and a complete mindset change. It takes time, effort and dedication to make the transformation successful. And it’s never over!

The following are some of the steps that you can take to start your journey toward becoming a Lean organisation:

Get everyone involved in the process. The Lean Transformation cannot be achieved through top-down management alone. The leader must work closely with employees at all levels to implement changes that will make the organisation more effective and efficient. Employees need to understand how they fit into this process, so that they can contribute effectively.

Set goals for improvement and measure progress toward those goals regularly. One of the primary reasons for implementing Lean practices is to improve business performance and increase efficiency, but measuring results will tell us if we’re moving in the right direction or not. We need to be measuring against specific goals set out at the beginning of the process (or before it began). This also helps us identify areas which need improvement as well as areas where we’re excelling.

The Lean Leaders Standard Work

Lean leadership Standard Work is a system that encourages continuous improvement and provides a framework for facilitating change. It requires leaders to focus on their actions, behaviours, and tools in order to drive continuous improvement in their organisation. This Lean Leadership Standard Work can be applied to managers, supervisors, directors, and executives alike.

Lean Leadership Standard Work encourages and promotes employees in organisations to reduce variation and improve performance. It also develops team members by demonstrating how to make smart changes and support people by defining what they should do when they take action.

Lean Leadership Standard Work can include:

  • Develop process standards alongside the process operators
  • Observing processes in action (Gemba Walks)
  • Asking 5 Why questions
  • Identifying gaps between standard & actual work (Audit)
  • Supporting process improvement
  • Coach and Mentoring Employees
  • Empowering Accountability and Responsibility
  • Deploying strategy

Lean Thinking as Leader

Lean Thinking as a Leader is about management that encourages you to make the most of your team and organisation. It is about creating an environment where people feel comfortable thinking “outside the box,” and where ideas can be considered, implemented, and monitored so that adjustments can be made quickly.

It requires leaders to be open-minded and encourages them to listen carefully to their team members’ ideas and suggestions. It also encourages leaders to collaborate with their teams in order to come up with better solutions for problems or issues. When everyone feels like they’re part of something bigger than themselves, they’ll be more likely to work hard toward achieving success in whatever it is they’ve been tasked with accomplishing.

The Lean Leader as a Teacher

A key concept in Lean is that people learn best by doing. Leaders must therefore create an environment where learning can happen, by encouraging employees to take on projects and responsibilities that stretch them, while also providing coaching and feedback along the way. The goal, according to Masaaki Imai (the author of Kaizen), is to help each employee become “Kaizen conscious, developing skills and tools for problem solving” — and this requires a great deal of effort on the part of managers in order to ensure that all employees are given opportunities to learn, grow and improve within their roles at work.

Eliminating waste is a key Lean Leadership Principle

Waste can be defined as anything that does not add value to the product or service being created. Waste occurs in all processes and can be categorised into three types of wasteful actions that negatively impact workflow, productivity and ultimately, customer satisfaction.

  1. Muda (or non-value-added work). These are activities that do not add any value to the end product or service, such as, Overproduction, Inventory, Defects, Motion, Over-processing, Waiting, Transportation.
  2. Muri (or overburden). This is when workers are asked to do more than they can handle efficiently, safely, or ethically.
  3. Mura (or unevenness). This occurs when there are unexpected fluctuations in demand for products or services due to things like seasonal change or competitor activity.

Waste takes time and resources to create, so eliminating it saves time and money.

Lean Leaders Put Customers First

Lean leaders are customer focused. They don’t waste time or money on anything that doesn’t directly improve the customer experience, and they know that this is the best way to grow their business.

This means that lean leaders put their customers’ needs first by:

  1. Listening to their customers and understanding their challenges and needs.
  2. Paying attention to what customers think about the product or service, and how they use it.
  3. Identifying areas where they can improve the products or services based on what customers say.

Takeaway: Lean leadership is about learning and improving.

A company benefits from having the right leadership in place, which ultimately helps a business to grow. They’ll learn from your customers, try new things, and challenge you in new ways. They’ll collaborate with others and actively seek outside support. Without good leaders, or without lean principles guiding those leaders, you’re going to get the same results: no learning and therefore no improvement.

Boost your team’s performance and your leadership potential with New Way Growth’s personalised Helping Managers to Succeed and Lead Programme. Let’s shape your leadership success story today!

Hoshin Kanri Strategic Planning Process: The Key to Driving Growth and Performance

In today’s highly competitive and ever-changing business environment, manufacturers need an effective way to align their teams and departments towards a unified strategic objective. The Hoshin Kanri Strategic Planning Process, originating in Japan, may just be the perfect answer to achieving this coherence. In this blog post, we will explore what Hoshin Kanri is, why it was developed, how you can implement it, and how it can help you align your team’s goals into an overarching strategy.

What is the Hoshin Kanri Strategic Planning Process?

Hoshin Kanri, which translates to “compass management” or “policy deployment,” is a strategic planning process designed to help organisations define their strategic goals, allocate resources, and ensure continuous improvement in their performance. It involves a top-down and bottom-up approach, with senior management setting the strategic direction and all levels of management/employees through-out the business implementing the strategy and delivering results.

Why was Hoshin Kanri developed?

The Hoshin Kanri process traces its origins to the 1950/60s when Japanese companies needed a method to effectively integrate innovation, continuous improvement, and long-term planning. The methodology was born out of Japanese management culture and, at its core, emphasises collaboration, communication, and organisational alignment. Over the years, the adoption of Hoshin Kanri has spread worldwide, thanks to its ability to link strategic goals with everyday operations.

How to implement the Hoshin Kanri Strategic Planning Process

Implementing Hoshin Kanri involves several steps:

  1. Establish strategic goals: Senior management identifies the organisation’s strategic objectives, which should be derived from the company’s vision and mission.
  2. Translate goals into measurable objectives: Break down strategic goals into smaller, measurable objectives. This helps clarify expectations, enables monitoring progress, and ensures everyone is working toward the same end.
  3. Cascade objectives throughout the organisation: Communicate the objectives to each department or team within the company. Managers must then translate these objectives into actions that their teams will undertake to align with the overall strategy.
  4. Monitor and review performance: Develop a system to review progress against the objectives. This involves tracking performance indicators, checking in with project milestones, and analysing the reasons for delays or variances.
  5. Annual and Quarterly Hoshin reviews: Conduct annual reviews to assess the performance and make necessary adjustments. Quarterly reviews should also be carried out to ensure that the strategy remains relevant and responsive to any changes in the business environment.
  6. Learn and improve: Encourage a culture of learning and continuous improvement through regular feedback, analysis of results, and identification of areas for improvement.

How Hoshin Kanri can help align your team’s goals

The Hoshin Kanri process is designed to facilitate organisational alignment and create a clear roadmap towards your strategic objectives. By breaking down high-level goals into measurable objectives and cascading them through all levels of the organisation, Hoshin Kanri can help ensure that everyone is working towards the same vision. This, in turn, fosters a sense of purpose and cohesiveness within the company, driving employees to work together as a unified force. Moreover, the process emphasises continuous improvement, which keeps teams motivated and focused on delivering their best performance.

Key Benefits of Hoshin Kanri

The Hoshin Kanri approach provides a number of benefits to organisations striving to maintain strategy alignment, emphasise innovation, and enhance organisational performance. Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Alignment of Organisational Goals: Hoshin Kanri effectively aligns all levels of your organisation behind the same strategic goals. This ensures that every team and individual in your organisation understands their role and how their work contributes to the larger objectives.
  2. Improves Communication: By cascading goals throughout the organisation, Hoshin Kanri encourages clear, consistent communication between all levels of the company. This can help foster a greater sense of unity and teamwork, as well as prevent misunderstandings or disconnects between different teams or departments.
  3. Focus on Strategic Priorities: Hoshin Kanri emphasises concentrating resources and efforts on a few key strategic initiatives. This helps prevent spreading resources too thin and ensures that everyone’s efforts are focused on achieving the most important goals.
  4. Continuous Improvement: Hoshin Kanri promotes a culture of continuous improvement. By regularly reviewing and adjusting goals and strategies, organisations can ensure they are always moving forward and evolving to meet changing market demands.
  5. Performance Measurement: Through the continuous review process, Hoshin Kanri provides a way to measure the organisation’s progress towards its goals. Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics can provide valuable insights into organisational performance and highlight areas for improvement.

In implementing the Hoshin Kanri strategic planning process, organisations can unlock these benefits, driving better performance, increased alignment, and ultimately, achieving strategic goals.

Key Takeaway:

The Hoshin Kanri Strategic Planning Process is an invaluable tool for organisations seeking to achieve alignment and execute their strategic vision effectively. By implementing this proven methodology, you can create a clear roadmap for success, foster a culture of continuous improvement, and ensure that your entire team is working towards a unified strategic goal. If you’re looking to get the best from your Time, Money and Resources this is the way to do it!.

PS: 💡 If you would like to know more regarding Hoshin Kanri please do get in contact, Adam Payne our Managing Director has implemented this in a number of businesses, from SMEs to Global Power Houses with huge success.

Mastering Lean Manufacturing: A Guide to Elevating Your Organisation’s Efficiency and Performance

Imagine yourself at the helm of your organisation, ready to take the plunge into the world of Lean Manufacturing. You’ve heard about the benefits and the success stories, and now you’re eager to make it a reality for your company. But where do you begin? Fear not, as you’re about to embark on a transformative journey that will elevate your organisation’s efficiency, productivity, and overall performance.

Here are our thoughts to help you navigate the implementation of Lean Manufacturing within your organisation.

Start with a clear vision: Clearly define your goals and objectives for implementing Lean Manufacturing. Establish a shared understanding among your team members to ensure everyone is working towards the same targets.

Involve your employees: Engage your employees in the process from the beginning. Encourage open communication, listen to their ideas, and empower them to take ownership of the changes. This will foster a sense of commitment and enhance the success of the implementation.

Provide training: Equip your employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to understand and apply Lean Manufacturing principles effectively. Provide ongoing training and support to ensure they are comfortable with the new systems and processes.

Prioritise small, incremental improvements: Focus on making small, incremental changes rather than attempting a complete overhaul of your operations. This will allow you to see immediate results, build momentum, and minimise disruptions to your daily operations.

Monitor and measure progress: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the success of your Lean Manufacturing implementation. Regularly review and analyse these metrics to identify areas for further improvement and celebrate successes.

Be consistent and persistent: Lean Manufacturing is a long-term commitment. Stay consistent in your efforts and maintain a persistent focus on continuous improvement. This will ensure your organisation reaps the benefits of Lean Manufacturing over time.

Learn from others: Network with other SME manufacturers who have successfully implemented Lean Manufacturing principles. Gain insights, share experiences, and learn from their successes and challenges.

Stay flexible and adaptable: As you implement Lean Manufacturing, be prepared to adapt and modify your approach based on your organisation’s unique needs and circumstances. Stay open to new ideas and be willing to adjust your strategies as needed.

Now, pause for a moment to consider the strides you’ve taken in incorporating Lean Manufacturing into your organisation. Keep in mind that the road to success isn’t linear; rather, it’s an ongoing process of refinement, education, and adaptability.

Face the obstacles head-on, rejoice in your triumphs, and always stay focused on your end goal: to build a streamlined, highly efficient, and thriving organisation. Persistently forge ahead, and you’ll soon discover that the advantages of Lean Manufacturing surpass any challenges encountered on this transformative journey.

If you’re looking for support in taking your organisations efficiency and performance to the next level don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – 0330 311 2820 or email

The Role of Innovation in Driving Growth for UK Manufacturers

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up a significant portion of the manufacturing sector in the UK, and they play a crucial role in driving economic growth and job creation. However, with increasing competition and rapidly evolving technologies, it’s becoming more important than ever for SME manufacturers to innovate in order to stay competitive and achieve long-term growth.

Innovation can take many forms, from developing new products and processes to improving existing ones. By embracing innovation, SME manufacturers can unlock new markets, enhance their production capabilities, and create more value for their customers. Here are some key ways in which innovation can help drive growth in SME manufacturers with two approaches discussed in each section:

Product Innovation

Product innovation is a key way for SME manufacturers to differentiate themselves from competitors and capture new markets. This involves developing new products or improving existing ones in response to changing customer needs, market trends, or technological advancements. Product innovation can take many forms, such as improving product performance, adding new features, or developing new product lines.

One approach to product innovation is to engage with customers to understand their needs and pain points. This can involve conducting market research, surveys, or focus groups to identify gaps in the market and areas where innovation is needed. SMEs can also leverage social media and online platforms to gather customer feedback and insights.

Another approach is to invest in research and development (R&D) to develop new technologies or materials that can be used to create innovative products. This can involve collaborating with universities, research institutions, or other companies to access new knowledge and expertise. SMEs can also explore government funding and grants to support their R&D efforts.

Process Innovation

Process innovation involves improving manufacturing processes to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve quality. This can be achieved through the adoption of new technologies, automation of processes, or the streamlining of workflows. By implementing process innovation, SMEs can become more agile and responsive to market demands and achieve higher levels of productivity and profitability. (For further reading on process innovation or improvement – click here)

One approach to process innovation is to leverage digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, or the internet of things (IoT) to automate processes and enhance decision-making. This can involve implementing smart sensors and devices that can collect and analyse data in real-time, enabling SMEs to optimise their processes and identify opportunities for improvement. (For further information about Digital Technologies check-out 7 Digital Technologies that will Transform Your Factory)

Another approach is to adopt lean manufacturing principles, which refers to eliminating waste from the production process. One way to do this is through continuous improvement programs like Six Sigma or Kaizen. These programs enable you to systematically identify areas for improvement and implement changes.

Business Model Innovation

Business model innovation involves developing new revenue streams or business models that can drive growth and increase profitability. This can involve exploring new markets, developing new distribution channels, or offering new value-added services.

One approach to business model innovation is to develop a subscription-based service that offers customers ongoing value and generates recurring revenue for SMEs. This can involve offering a service that complements existing products or developing a new product that is sold on a subscription basis.

Another approach is to explore online marketplaces or e-commerce platforms to reach new customers and expand the SME’s reach. SMEs can also leverage social media and other digital marketing channels to build brand awareness and generate leads.

Collaborative Innovation

Collaborative innovation involves partnering with other companies, universities, or research institutions to access new ideas, technologies, and resources. This can help SMEs develop breakthrough products or processes that would be difficult to achieve on their own.

One approach to collaborative innovation is to engage in open innovation, which involves collaborating with external partners and crowdsourcing ideas. This can involve setting up innovation challenges or hackathons to encourage the development of new ideas or products.

Another approach is to develop strategic partnerships with other companies or research institutions to access new knowledge or resources. This can involve forming joint ventures or licensing agreements to share expertise and resources.

Open Innovation

Open innovation involves collaborating with external partners and crowdsourcing ideas to accelerate innovation efforts. This can involve engaging with customers, suppliers, or other stakeholders to tap into a broader pool of knowledge and expertise.

One approach to open innovation is to engage in co-creation, which involves collaborating with customers to develop new products or services. This can involve setting up user communities or customer advisory boards to gather feedback and insights.

Another approach is to leverage open innovation platforms or networks to access a wider pool of ideas and resources. SMEs can also participate in industry events or conferences to network with other professionals and share best practices for innovation.

In order to successfully implement open innovation, SMEs should create a culture that values and encourages innovation. This can involve setting up an innovation team or department, providing training and resources for employees to develop their innovation skills, and incentivising and rewarding innovation efforts.


In conclusion, innovation is a critical driver of growth for SME manufacturing businesses in the UK. By adopting an innovation mindset, SMEs can stay ahead of the competition, create more value for their customers, and achieve long-term success. Whether through product innovation, process innovation, business model innovation, collaborative innovation, or open innovation, SMEs have many options to explore and unlock their full potential.

How Can Operations System Design Help Manufacturers?

Operations system design for manufacturers has become a key issue in the manufacturing industry. This is because manufacturers are facing a lot of challenges such as increased competition, decreasing market share, supply chain issues, cost reduction and more.

Operations system design is a process or methodology that can help companies to improve their performance and achieve their objectives by implementing new strategies and processes on how they operate their business. It involves analysing the current performance of your company, identifying areas where improvement could be made and then developing solutions that will increase efficiency and profitability.

Some of the important concepts used in operations system design are the following:

Demand and Capacity Management

The demand and capacity management system are the main engine driving operations. It works by matching product demand with production capacity, which includes both production equipment and labour. The most important aspect of demand and capacity management is how it deals with shortages or excesses.

In a manufacturing environment, demand is often very unpredictable. This means that there are times when the factory needs more workers than normal, but also times when it has an excess of workers on its hands. Demand can also fluctuate depending on seasonality and other factors outside of your control as well as within your control (such as sales promotions).

The first step in creating a robust demand and capacity management system is to understand what drives your business and how this affects your supply chain requirements. For example:

If you’re making products on a seasonal basis, then you need to know when those seasons occur so that you can plan ahead for them.

If you’re planning sales promotions or other marketing initiatives, then you’ll need to know how many people will be needed to support these activities so that they don’t negatively impact production schedules or increase costs unnecessarily.

Planning and Scheduling

Planning and scheduling are the process of determining the activities or tasks to be performed, the sequence or order in which they are to be carried out, and the resources and time required for each.

Scheduling can be done manually or automatically. Scheduling systems can be used in manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and other areas where work must be performed on a sequence of tasks that must be completed in a specific order. Manufacturing scheduling processes may include:

Multi-process workflow management — Scheduling of multiple processes to optimize resource utilisation and minimise total cost of operation.

Workload forecasting — Forecasting the amount of work that will need to be performed over time, so that sufficient resources can be allocated for production. (See our blog on Sales, Inventory and Operation Planning.)

Shop floor control — Monitoring the actual performance of each machine in the shop floor so that any bottlenecks or other problems can be identified quickly.

Scheduling optimisation — Using mathematical algorithms to find the best possible schedule for a given set of requirements.

(for automation visit FactoryIQ: What is a Manufacturing Execution System)

Operational Excellence in Logistics

Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customer needs. In terms of logistics, a product is a good or service with some utility to the customer. The term logistics comes from the Greek word logistikos, which means “skilled in calculating.”

Logistics involves the integration and synchronisation of all aspects of supply chain management. It includes planning, procurement, inventory control, production planning and control, distribution, packaging, order processing and shipping as well as associated financial services such as bill payment and revenue management.

Logistics is important because it is often an overlooked aspect in a company’s overall success, but it can also be an important part of any business model. A company that has effective logistics operations will be able to provide customers with products that they want at a price they are willing to pay while still making a profit. This allows a company to compete with other companies that may have lower prices or higher quality products but less efficient logistics operations.

Inventory Management

Inventory management is a system of control that determines the optimal location and quantity of inventory needed to minimise the cost of carrying that inventory. Inventory management is often used in conjunction with a Just-In-Time (JIT) or lean manufacturing system, which relies on careful monitoring of inventory levels to ensure that production lines are never interrupted by parts shortages.

Inventory management is usually accomplished through a computerised system, typically using barcode scanning technology to track individual items as they are received from suppliers and shipped out to customers. Inventory management also typically includes some form of point-of-sale (POS) software or hardware, which allows retailers to track sales and determine when sales goals have been met for each item sold.

The goal of inventory management is to reduce excess inventory while still meeting customer demand. These include:

Reducing Inventory Costs: Excess inventory can tie up valuable capital resources and increase carrying costs (i.e., storage space, insurance).

Minimising Out-of-Stock Situations: If a company has too little inventory on hand, it may not be able to meet customer needs. In addition, customers may perceive this as poor service or lack of concern for their needs.

Maximising Profitability: By keeping optimal levels of inventory on hand at all times, companies can reduce costly markdowns or write-offs due to excess stock in slow-moving items.

Process Stability

Process stability is the ability of a process to produce consistent product quality and quantity, on a day-to-day basis. It is a measure of how well the process delivers on its promise to produce the same product each time it is run. A stable process is one that can be relied upon to consistently provide high-quality, low-cost products.

Process stability is important because it affects both customer satisfaction and profitability. If customers are not satisfied with their product or service, they may find another supplier or stop buying altogether. If production costs increase unpredictably, profits will suffer as well.

Process stability also affects productivity levels and capacity planning, making it an important consideration for any manufacturing operation. Lean and Six Sigma methodologies say a big part here.

Process Foundations

A manufacturing operation is a system that transforms the materials and energy resources of the environment into finished goods and services. Manufacturing operations are divided into three main areas: processes, support functions and information technology (IT). Each of these areas has an impact on how efficient and effective your production system can be.


Processes include all activities that transform raw materials into finished goods or services. The processes themselves may be physical or organizational in nature. Physical processes include material handling, assembly, machining, painting, testing, and packaging. Organisational processes include planning, scheduling, forecasting, and controlling.

Support Functions

Support functions provide products or services to internal or external customers but do not directly produce finished goods or services. They include purchasing; quality; maintenance; engineering; human resources; finance/accounting; EH&S; supply chain management/logistics; information technology (IT); marketing, sales and many more (the complete value chain!).

Information Technology (IT)

Information technology is required to support many of these activities including: process control systems for manufacturing operations such as machine tool controls and robotics; ERP / MRP.

Takeaway: Operations Systems Design enables organisations to optimize the alignment of their processes, resources, people, and information systems.

PS: If you need support with Operations Systems Design or Lean Implementation please do get in contact.

7 Digital Technologies That Will Transform Your Factory

What is Digital Manufacturing?

Digital manufacturing is a term that describes how technology has changed the way we design, build, and produce products. The connected capabilities of a digital factory present several opportunities for manufacturers to gain scalable agility, flexibility and operational performance.

It brings together Information Technology and Operational Technology, resulting in manufacturing processes that are enabled by cyber-physical capabilities. This convergence ensures companies get actionable insights at a glance, which helps to bridge the gap between isolated processes and operational transparency to increase performance.

Here we look at 7 technologies that can transform manufacturers on their journey to digital

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a vision for the future of manufacturing that aims to link all devices, machines, and systems together through digital networks.

The IIoT represents a significant shift in how manufacturing will be done in the future. Digital technologies are already changing how products are made and delivered, but the Industrial Internet of Things promises to take these changes further by connecting all aspects of industrial processes, from design to production and delivery.

Industrial internet of things (IIoT) is an emerging technology that has been designed to connect objects such as machines and sensors through wireless networks or wired connections. The purpose behind this is to allow different devices to communicate with each other in order to carry out complex tasks which would otherwise require human interaction. For example, if there was a sensor on a machine which detected that it was overheating then it could send this information back to its central server which would then be able to shut down the machine before any damage occurred.

Big Data and Analytics Tools

Big data and analytics tools are increasingly being used in digital manufacturing. The technology is expected to play an ever-increasing role in the development of products, as well as in their production.

The ability to gather and process data from various sources, including sensors and other devices, is one of the key benefits of digital manufacturing.  When combined with artificial intelligence (AI), big data and analytics can provide valuable insights that enable companies to improve product quality, reduce costs and enhance customer satisfaction.

Manufacturing Execution Software

Manufacturing Execution Software (MES) is a software application used by manufacturers to monitor and control manufacturing processes. It includes all aspects of the production process, from the moment raw materials enter the facility until they are shipped out. MES systems can be used to manage both discrete and batch processes, as well as continuous ones.

Manufacturing execution system is an integrated software platform that automates and integrates various functionalities within a manufacturing environment. It is based on modern IT technologies (e.g. web services, XML), which enable flexible integration into existing production systems and provide easy access to information from external systems such as ERP or CRM systems. MES enables companies to improve their competitiveness by increasing efficiency, increasing throughput, reducing costs, and enhancing quality control by using real-time data from all operational areas of the enterprise.

Check out our very own sister company FactoryIQ MES software here

Advanced Robotics

Robotics is a rapidly growing field with new innovations in technology and capabilities. Advances in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) are making it possible to have smaller sensors and actuators that can be used in small spaces. This means that companies can now create robots that can be used in environments where they could not previously go.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are also having an impact on robotics. AI has been around for decades, but now it is more powerful than ever before due to advances in computer hardware and software. The combination of AI and robotics is opening up new possibilities for automation that were not possible before due to limitations.

Sensing Technology are also driving changes in how we think about automation. In the past, most sensor technologies were based on electromechanical components like gears or switches that respond when there is a change in position or force applied to them by another object or person. Today’s sensors are based on MEMS technology which has allowed us to develop sensors that can detect temperature changes, motion, pressure, vibration and other physical phenomena. Other advances have seen programmable sensors via the use of apps with multiple actions similar to the Zapier style application for automated task in software, the ‘If this do that’ scenario.

Advanced robotics for manufacturing is the most powerful tool for productivity, flexibility and innovation in the modern factory. Robotics technology is evolving rapidly and the ability to easily integrate new capabilities into existing processes is essential.

Robots are already well-suited for repetitive tasks that require very high precision. But they can also handle a wide variety of other tasks in the factory, including: Material handling, Assembly, Testing & inspection, Packaging & labelling, and more.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing is a type of manufacturing process that creates a three-dimensional object based on a digital file. This is done by laying down successive layers of material and then fusing them into place with heat. The technology can be used to produce parts and products ranging from the smallest medical devices to the largest airplane parts.

The technology has been around for decades, but it’s only recently become affordable and available to consumers.

Now that 3-D printers are becoming more common, experts are looking at how they could be used in manufacturing. Many companies are using additive manufacturing to make products or parts that would normally be made by injection moulding or other processes.

Additive manufacturing can also be used to make prototypes of new products in just hours or days instead of weeks or months. This makes it easier for companies to test out new designs before going into full production with them.

Digital Twins

Digital Twins for manufacturing are a new concept that is being widely adopted by today’s manufacturers. The digital twin of a manufacturing plant is a virtual representation of the real-world equipment, processes, and environment. It is a virtual representation of the physical world in which everything can be seen, monitored, controlled, and analysed in real time.

The concept of Digital Twins was anticipated by David Gelernter’s 1991 book Mirror Worlds. Since then, it has become an essential part of industrial applications across various industries.

Digital Twins have the potential to transform businesses by providing valuable insights into their facilities that can help them improve performance and make more informed decisions about resource allocation. These insights provide opportunities for companies to optimise their operations and identify bottlenecks that may affect productivity or lead to losses in revenue.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that overlays a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. Augmented reality enhances one’s current perception of reality, whereas virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one.

Augmented Reality and Digital Twin technologies go hand in hand.  With augmented reality, you can overlay your digital twin onto the real world. This way you can see what your machine looks like as close to your real-world environment. This will give you more insight and help you make better decisions about future upgrades.


The digital era has brought about revolutionary changes to all kinds of industries, and manufacturing is no different. As a tool for improving productivity, efficiency, and quality control, digital technology is becoming increasingly important for manufacturers. Many manufacturers are starting to see it as a valuable asset that can improve their output and their bottom line.

If you need support in anything Growth, Strategy or Operations don’t hesitate to get in touch.